By Luke and Samantha
Today has everything a flat racing fan could wish for – a big field handicap; a superstar in Stradivarius trying to get that £1million bonus over the marathon trip; an intriguing two year old group two and the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it five furlong group one Nunthorpe.
Here’s our preview…
Sky Bet Handicap
Mandarin and Indianopolis ran in the Shergar Cup challenge and the latter prevailed by half a length. MANDARIN only has to carry 8st12 in comparison to 9st3. If he gets sent to win a little bit earlier, he’ll go close. Genetics split that pair and goes off equal weights to Mandarin. Corelli got within a short head of Kelly’s Dino, who beat Indianopolis four lengths a few starts back and will probably be well supported. Top weight Gibbs Hill was pulled up in the Northumberland Plate when well-fancied after a 724 day break. He could run better than then. Caradoc and Jazeel could go well.
Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup Stakes
By winning this race, STRADIVARIUS will win himself an extra £1million to go with the £127,598 prize. His trainer-jockey combination won with Enable in the Yorkshire Oaks so the yard is most definitely in form. He’s won his last eight and won the £1million bonus last year. He’s proved time and time again that he’s the best horse at this trip running at the minute and in the past few years. Dee Ex Bee has tried to get to Stradivarius on his past two outings but has never looked like he could pass him. He’s a nice horse though and a winner over two miles before. Magic Circle is now seven. He won last season’s Chester Cup and the Henry II Stakes. Stamina is no issue but he’s been beaten on both outings this season.
IRISH RUNNER FOCUS WITH LUKE
Falcon Eights runs for Dermot Weld and Oisin Murphy takes the ride. This relatively unexposed four year son of Galileo is having his sixth start of his career. He has won three of his five races to date. The highlight of those came last time out when he won a Listed race at Sandown. He is officially rated ten pounds inferior to Stradivarius and will have to improve to be involved here.
Il Paradiso runs for Aidan O’Brien and Wayne Lordan takes the ride. This son of Galileo runs off a feather weight of eight stone and five pounds. He enjoyed the step up in trip to two miles last time out and was an impressive winner. He has a bit to find on ratings but I think he will prove to be useful over staying distances in time.
Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Gimcrack Stakes
Clipper Logistics won the two year old group race on day two of this meeting and have SPARTAN FIGHTER. He beat subsequent Norfolk and Prix Robert Papin winner A’Ali when breaking his maiden and then won a novice race last time out. At about 7/1, he could be brilliant value. His main rival is Threat. He was a good maiden winner and has since been second in the Coventry and the Richmond Stakes. He’s rated 111,distinctly ahead of the rest. Abstemias and Byline came good on their second tries. Dubai Station has Frankie on. He was beaten three lengths by A’Ali so has something to find with Spartan Fighter. Malotru has won both of his starts. Repartee and Royal Commando could go well.
IRISH RUNNER FOCUS WITH LUKE
Pistoletto is trained by Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore takes the ride. This son of War Front was a very impressive winner on debut when winning at Tipperary. He was not so impressive next time out, he scrambled home at Naas to win by half a length. Things did not work out for him on that occasion and still won. He got upset in the stalls and was taken out before being reloaded back into the stalls. He was last seen finishing sixth at the Curragh in July. That was after a small break and was about having a positive experience. He was very weak in the market on the day. I think he is better than he has shown and can run into the placings at a double figure price.
The Nunthorpe has been won by many good horses like Pivotal, Kyllachy, Oasis Dream, Kingsgate Native, who’s teaching the next generation at the British Racing School, Sole Power on two occasions and Alpha Delphini last year. The girls have done well in this recently, winning three of the past four renewals. One of this year’s fillies is Mabs Cross. She was only be a nose, running on from the back, last year with Battaash in fourth. After that, she won the Abbaye at Longchamp, with Soldier’s Call and Battaash, again, in behind. She kicked off her five year old campaign with a victory at Newmarket. Since then she’s been third to Battaash and fourth to Blue Point, Battaash and Soldier’s Call in the King’s Stand with Fairyland fifth. The form line between Battaash and Mabs Cross is a confusing one and it seems as though the horse who has the best run through and handles conditions comes out on top.
The other Michael Dods filly is Intense Romance. She completed a treble in September/October 2018 made up of a class two and two listed races, all on heavy ground. She’s ran in two races in 2019 but was sixth on both occasions. She’s the 100/1 outsider. Another largely priced shot is Rumble Inthejungle. He was a good two year old, coming fourth at Royal Ascot and then winning the Molecombe, beating Soldier’s Call. He was third in the Middle Park behind Ten Sovereigns. So has a bit to find. With the leading contenders. He’s ran in high company on the last three times but was out of his depth.
Copper Knight, Ornate and El Astronaute do a lot of their running in big-field handicaps. Admittedly, El Astronaute has been running in good company this term having won a listed at Cork, a premier handicap at the Curragh, second in a group three and fifth to Battaash at Glorious Goodwood. Ornate was third on the latter occasion and, at the beginning of the season, he won the Dash at Epsom. He’ll break quickly and probably take them along along with El Astronaute. Copper Knight will probably sit behind those two and try and run to the peak of his ability to go close. All three have place claims at most.
Soldier’s Call is a name that’s cropped up quite a bit during this. This three year old son of Showcasing has won four times, including victories at Royal Ascot in the Windsor Castle, in a group three at Chantilly and in the Flying Childers at Doncaster, all at the age of two. Since his last victory, he’s been beaten only the narrowest of margins in the Abbaye, ahead of Battaash and behind Mabs Cross. He concluded his two year old season in America and began this season with a third to Garrus over course and distance, once again by a small margin. He out-ran his odds to be third in an ultra competitive King’s Stand, behind Battaash and ahead of Mabs Cross and Fairyland. He’s each way value at about 12/1.
Charlie Hills has two runners – Garrus and Battaash. There’s the saying ‘save the best until last’ so I’ll chat about Garrus first. This three year old grey colt has ran nine times and won four of them. His biggest win was a short head victory over Shades Of Blue and Soldier’s Call over course and distance in May. Since then, he’s placed in two group twos. He’s definitely an exciting sprinter in the making from a yard whose successfully handled top sprinters like Dark Angel. His winning course form is a boost.
That’s something Battaash, a son of Dark Angel, doesn’t have. He’s tried to win at this course twice – and came fourth on both tries. Both times in this race. He’s won at Goodwood, Haydock, Chantilly, Sandown and Bath in the past. He’s won five group twos and one group one (the 2017 Abbaye by four lengths). He is one of the fastest horses in the world – no doubt. There’s often a lot of press attention about how quirky and difficult he can be. That’s true- he is quirky. But now you’d hope connections have him worked out by now. I think they do and know the necessary precautions that need to be taken to keep him as chill as possible. After all, he’s a sprinter. He has matured with racing and should definitely put up a bold bid.
His main rival is Ten Sovereigns as Luke explains below…
IRISH RUNNER FOCUS WITH LUKE
The final three to mention are the Irish representatives on the day all run in this race. The standard of those is set by July Cup winner, Ten Sovereigns. This son of No Nay Never was impressive when winning the July Cup beating Advertise, who has since won a Group 1 in France. He drops to five furlongs for the first time but he does show plenty of speed. This race looks to be one of the best clashes of the week with Ten Sovereigns and Battaash.
The next best of the Irish is Fairyland trained by Aidan O’Brien and ridden by Donnacha O’Brien. This daughter of Kodiac has shown plenty of ability. She was last seen finishing third behind Ten Sovereigns in the July Cup. Prior to that she finished fifth in the King’s Stand, with Battaash in second. She has a bit to find to get involved with them two, but I think she could run a good race and possibly get a place at a double figure price.
So Perfect also runs for Aidan O’Brien with Wayne Lordan in the saddle. This daughter of Scat Daddy ran a good race in the July Cup to finish fifth behind Ten Sovereigns and Fairyland. She then ran in France in the race won by Advertise and finished midfield. I think she will have to improve to get involved with the other two Irish horses.
SAMANTHA– I think the BATTAASH will win. They should ride him as to get a lead off something as they don’t want to get into a battle with Ten Sovereigns too early on as he has stamina on his side. The younger horse always tends to break well and supporters of Battaash will be hoping that Ten Sovereigns will get into a battle early and tire himself out.
LUKE– I think TEN SOVEREIGNS may have enough speed and ability to get his head infront here and is the best chance of an Irish winner on the day.
British Stallion Studs EBF Convivial Maiden
FOX DUTY FREE was a 280,000 purchase and was novicey on debut. He bucked leaving the stalls and was hampered but at the end he finished very strongly to be denied half a length. The winner has since won a very hot nursery earlier in the week.
Nationwide Accident Repair Services Handicap
Seductive Moment and Edaraat have won their last two but the former has gone up a great deal to 94 so EDARAAT just tips it as the horse who came second to him last time has won.